Over the weekend, a lady and I swapped stories of moving to this part of the country. We agreed that among the many things to love, one of the highlights of living in southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia is getting to enjoy all four seasons.
I’ve always loved fall and all it entails – the changing leaves, the crisp air, and the beginning of football season. But living in Appalachia for a couple of years has taught me that I can appreciate the beauty of every season even though I don’t enjoy each one equally. I’m learning to notice the vibrant greenery in the summer. The brilliance of the foliage in the fall. Winter’s frost on the mountaintops. New blossoms in spring.
Living in Bluefield has taught me to enjoy each season for what it is instead of wishing it away for what comes next. That’s a good reminder for the seasons life brings as well, whether it’s a season of ease or difficulty, a time of rejoicing or mourning. I want to avoid living with the kind of anticipation of the future that creates a resentment of the present. I’m learning to embrace each season and to be on the lookout for beauty.
Just like each season in nature has its own loveliness, so do the seasons of life – even the difficult ones. Later today I have an appointment with a doctor, a visit that’s been on the calendar for more than three months. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been flooded with text messages of encouragement from family members, friends, and even someone I’ve never met. The body of Christ in action has been a spectacular sight, even in a season that hasn’t been my favorite. During other times, I’ve seen the beauty of Scripture addressing a specific need, provision from an unlikely source, grace to walk in obedience, and forgiveness for ongoing struggles.
I don’t mean to communicate that each of life’s circumstances is inherently beautiful in and of itself – I’m not saying hardship or tragedy or loss or struggle are things of natural beauty. What I do believe, though, is that every season of life allows us to get a glimpse of the nature and character of God, and He is the epitome of beauty. We don’t have to have a better day or an easier life to see God – we can fix our eyes on Him from anywhere. And the thing of it is, the mountains and valleys – the highs and lows – actually serve us in our quest to know Him better. Every situation provides a unique vantage point from which we can gaze on the beauty of the Lord.
Scripture is full of examples of individuals whose lives were changed because they either saw God or anticipated a day when they would. Job was invigorated by the expectation that He would see God with his own eyes (Job 19:25-27). David was driven by a singular desire to see God (Psalm 27:4). A vision of God brought conviction, restoration, and commissioning for Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13). Saul, a persecutor of Christians, encountered God on the road to Damascus and became a proponent of the faith he had once sought to destroy (Acts 9:1-30). Jesus assured His disciples – and us, by extension – that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).
A day is coming when you and I will see God face to face, and our definition of beauty will be refined for eternity (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2). As we anticipate that glorious day, we can fix our eyes on Him here and now. We can still see glimpses of His nature and character as He works in, around, and through us. And a vision of Him infuses our lives with beauty – regardless of the kind of day we’re having or what our season of life has been like.
Today is an opportunity to see Beauty. Will you lift your eyes to Him?